Institute for Energy Transition
dedicated to Marine Renewable Energies
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MISTRAL sea test site

MISTRAL sea test site

Informational meeting at Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône city on September 14th.

Following the continuation of the authorization to operate the MISTRAL sea test site in July, an informational meeting was held on September 14th at the Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône city facilities. The objective? Discuss with key stakeholders of the sector the environmental observatory project led by France Energies Marines and the possibilities offered by this site in terms of technological developments to support the deployment of floating wind turbines in the Mediterranean.

Communicating on the first offshore test site dedicated to floating wind turbines in the Mediterranean

The meeting, held on the morning of September 14th at the Town Hall of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, aimed to present the MISTRAL sea trial site to interested stakeholders. Indeed, the July 21st deployment of environmental study equipment on the site has made it the first offshore test site dedicated to floating wind turbines in the Mediterranean. The concession, initially obtained to test the prototypes of vertical axis floating wind turbine designed by the company Nenuphar, remains valid until 2026. The operation was coordinated by France Energies Marines, the national research institute on marine renewable energies. As part of the Cop d'avance and support for the development of marine renewable energies, this action was financed by the SUD - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, for €200,000. It has also received funding from the Aix-Marseille Provence metropolis and support from the Pôle Mer Méditerranée.

Discussions with key stakeholders from the sector

Béatrice Aliphat, Regional Councillor of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, and Martial Alvarez, Mayor of Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône and member of the board of Metropole Aix-Marseille Provence, reaffirmed in their interventions the need to gain visibility for the floating offshore wind energy sector with specific expectations on the commercial calls for tenders that will be included in the next Pluriannual Energy Program. Yann-Hervé De Roeck, Managing Director of France Energies Marines, presented the context and objectives of this action. Nicolas Germain, Manager of the R&D program Farm Architecture and Network Integration, then focused on the MISTRAL site, which is intended to be an environmental observatory and a privileged site to support technological developments related to the deployment of floating wind turbines in the Mediterranean. The last presentation, given by Christian Berhault, Scientific & Technical Expert and coordinator of the THEOREM initiative, focused on feedback from the SEM-REV multi-technology sea trial site run by Centrale Nantes and located off Le Croisic on the French Atlantic shore. The 65 participants at this meeting offered positive discussions during exchanges with the audience and significant expressions of interest concerning the possibilities offered by the MISTRAL test site.

Setting up an environmental observatory

The marking buoy deployed in July is equipped with a first set of instruments: a weather station, an inertial unit and a GPS plotter. The platform provides some of the necessary information needed for experiments planned as part of an environmental observatory project. The latter aims to improve knowledge of the marine environment in the Mediterranean and to develop the environmental monitoring protocols and means necessary for the design, deployment and operation of floating wind turbines. To this end, the buoy will be equipped with devices to characterize biofouling and its impact on mooring line tensions. Very soon, a wave recorder will also be installed in the area. It will be used to analyze the relationship between sea conditions and biofouling and anchoring characterizations. All data will be integrated into the France Energies Marines resource centre and made available to developers while collaborative R&D projects with manufacturers and services will be developed.